Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has stepped forward as the first Republican senator to oppose the House GOP's attempts to defund abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
In a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee chair Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, and vice chair Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Murkowski voiced her support for Planned Parenthood, an organization she said "provides services to those in need."
“I ask you to consider these programs going forward to determine if there is room for allowing continued funding,” she wrote.
Additionally, an email to one of her constituents expanded on her position and took shots at the House GOP's attempts to end funding for Title X, a federal program dedicated to reproductive health issues.
“I do believe that Planned Parenthood provides vital services to those in need and disagree with its funding cuts contained in the H.R. 1 package,” she wrote in the email obtained by Politico.
“From 2002-2008, Planned Parenthood received $342 million in federal taxpayer money through Title X funding alone. With these funds, Planned Parenthood has provided women throughout the U.S. with important family planning and contraceptive services as well as screening for breast and cervical cancers for low-income women. I believe it is important that Title X organizations continue to receive funding. In Alaska, this includes five centers — two health department clinics, two Planned Parenthood clinics in Sitka and Soldotna and one independent clinic.”
So far, Senate GOP leaders have not guaranteed that defunding Planned Parenthood would be a "non-negotiable" item in their budget discussions with Democrats.